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UPDATE: $640 Million! Do You Have Your Mega Millions Ticket Yet?

You're more likely to get pregnant from a fling than win the lottery. Where does Michigan fall on the "suckers index"? Take the Patch poll.

The Mega Millions jackpot has leaped to more than half a billion dollars. It's estimated at $640 million for Friday night's drawing — $462 million if a sole winner takes the cash payout.

The lottery is a suckers bet. Always has been. But the dream of winning the lottery and leaving behind the daily grind is hard to shake.

More than $50 billion was spent on lottery tickets in 2010, and prizes totaled $32.8 billion, according to a Bloomberg ranking of state lotteries. Michigan adults spend an average $312.91 per year on the lottery - the seventh most in the country. (In Massachussetts, it's a whopping $860 per year.)

Where does Michigan fall on Bloomberg's Suckers Index?

"The Sucker Score is calculated by subtracting the total dollar amount of prizes awarded from the total dollar amount of ticket sales. The difference is then divided by the total personal income of the state's residents," according to Bloomberg.

Michigan ranks fourth. The state with the biggest suckers score is Georgia, followed by Massachusetts and New York. The full Suckers Index ranking list is on Bloomberg.com.

Which states gave ticket buyers the biggest bang for the buck?

Michigan ranks No. 23, taking in nearly $2.4 million in total ticket sales and offering back $1.4 billion in prize money.

The top three are Massachusetts, Oregon and Tennessee. The bottom three are Oklahoma, North Dakota and Louisiana.

What are the Odds?

From Aol's DailyFinance.com: State-run lotteries "have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling" in America, according to Bloomberg. When you play the lottery in Louisiana, you're going to average 51 cents in "winnings" for every dollar you pay to play. The best odds in the nation can be found in Massachusetts, but even up there you're looking at a 72 cents payback on each $1 lottery ticket. And the average payout is just 60 cents.

You have better odds of ... 

  • Getting pregnant from a one-night stand: 1 in 20
  • Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 10,000
  • Dying in an airplane crash: 1 in 355,318
  • Being dealt a royal flush in a given hand of poker: 1 in 655,750
  • Dying from a flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1 million.
  • Winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot: 1 in 18 million.

Mega Millions Drawing

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. You can buy tickets until 10:45 p.m.

Do you plunk down cold, hard cash in exchange for a lottery ticket dream? Take our Mega Millions poll. What would you do with your winnings? Share in the comments!

Brian P March 30, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I have to agree with Kate S. This is in no way Breaking News. News about banning books and redistricting a school district is also not breaking news. Redistricting is certainly newsworthy, but is not an emergent news report. If the Plymouth Patch wants to avoid a Boy that Cried Wolf scenario, they need to review their definition of "Breaking News."
Brad Jensen March 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM
"taking in nearly $2.4 million in total ticket sales and offering back $1.4 billion in prize money" Hmm, Taking in $2.4 MILLION and paying out $1.4 BILLION. Sounds like good odds to me.
Christine March 31, 2012 at 11:51 AM
"offering back" does not equal "paying out"
Brad Jensen March 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Actually, yes it does if you follow the Bloomberg link. The actual figure is that they take in $2.4 Billion (with a "B") and pay out $1.4 Billion. If they took in millions and paid out billions, they would be out of business in a week.
Dale Murrish March 31, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Lotteries are an immoral way for governments to raise money. They take advantage of people's desire to get rich quick, and are generally a regressive tax on those who can least afford it. The only good thing about them is they are a voluntary tax. The worst false advertising is done by government: it's for education. No it's not, it's for the general fund; it's all one big pot. Spending is reduced elsewhere. Lotteries should be required to have truth in gambling statements prominently displayed, and Surgeon General type warnings about the dangers of addiction. The worst part of gambling is it undermines the work ethic; it so easily crosses from entertainment to feed the "I want, I want" mentality that pervades our culture. At least casinos are legitimate businesses. They have cleverly marketed and reworded gambling into gaming to appear more family-friendly. Once the government gets addicted to the revenue, there's no going back. Sadly we have officials like Brooks Patterson saying we need more of it. It doesn't add productive goods and services to society. Gambling is a cancer that has spread across America in the last 30 years; government should discourage vices, not promote them.

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